Last Quarter… The last phase of the lunar cycle before the moon fades into perpetual darkness. Kagen no Tsuki (Last Quarter) is a Shoujo, Supernatural, Mystery, Romance with a story unlike anything Ai Yazawa has conjured up but still manages to retain the style she is renowned for.
Well similar to Ai’s more well-known manga Nana, Kagen no Tsuki starts of with an incredible prologue (one of my best in fact) and any unsuspecting reader would not believe it to be a prologue until it hits them. It is then that the story truly begins. Trying my best not to spoil anything; Kagen no Tsuki follows
a group of four kids who unintentionally get caught up in another girl’s wish to find the man she yearns for. However there are a number of mysteries that surround this young girl: Who is she? Why can’t she leave the empty house? And what is the object of her desire? With romance taking a back seat in this story, the kids take it upon themselves to uncover these mysteries and come to some sort of conclusion in this profound case. With an intricate array of plot development and surprise twist, it’s no shock that it all eventually links together to form this complete masterpiece of a story.
The four kids mentioned before are not the kind you’d imagine to even be in this kind of surreal story but they become the characters that grab hold of the limelight. There’s not much character development given to the them since it’s all reserved for the young girl in question (Mizuki) and I must say she was developed quite nicely. Nevertheless I would have liked to see more romantic development between the four kids and that other characters wouldn’t have been pushed aside as if they were unimportant (Mizuki’s friend).
In regards to the artwork, Ai fans or pretty much any shoujo manga fan would love it for it’s elaborate approach to simple things like: the aesthetic features of the empty house and the expression in ones eyes. On the other hand people not used to this style, especially when it comes to the character designs, may struggle to get used to it.
All in all Kagen no Tsuki was a short, surreal, story that expressed so much in such small amount of time. What’s interesting is that the mystery about the young girl was like one of those cliché scary (tragic love) stories someone would tell in an eerie situation when the mood calls for it, yet there was nothing cliché about this story. It was a heartfelt tale about regaining a lost love, through the help of some empathetic individuals. Having such a sombre mood throughout, a bittersweet ending is probably the best one could hope for. So in the end, is this the kind of mysterious story you’re looking for? You have until the end of the Last Quarter to find the answer.
The best thing about this manga is the story. The characters, the art, and everything else just faded away while I was reading it. At the start you think that this is all it's ever gonna be. The protagonist met a boy who drew her in and blah blah. To be honest I didn't read the synopsis, so I guess that's why I felt that way. But as I read the chapters, I JUST COULDN'T STOP. I need to know what happened.
The story draws you in, holds you tightly and exploits every bit of emotion it can get out from you. It's about true love.
It's about life and death. It's about loss. It's about believing there's some place out there that you'll go to when you're dead. It's about hope. That never ending hope that we have inside us. This manga made me feel that there is nothing more important than love... not just the romatic love but all the other love we take for granted.
The way the story was presented was one of the best I have ever seen... or read. It makes you believe it's shallow then slowly pull you down so deep you'll have trouble keeping up if you don''t get what's happening.
I commented that the characters as well as the others faded away as I was reading it, but I still noticed how good it is that some of the main were kids. It just made the story more believable you know? That unconditional, strong love that only the pure ones can really give.
Over all this manga made me so sad I wanted to cry. Just the thought of never being with the person I love again, or them forgetting me even if it's for the greater good, is so heart breaking I don't think I can get over it.
JUST READ IT. It's one of the best stories ever and even if the art isn't the best or even if the other stuff were average, the story makes up for it.
I would like to stop for a moment and applaud Ai Yazawa for her efforts on this story.
Story: 8/10 (Very Good)
The story starts off in a rather mysterious way; as if the characters' world belong to only them. Imagine an invisible circle surrounding these characters, if you may. So, there is something spiritual at first... That spiritual feeling was very intruding, which allowed me to read further.
The story appears to be possibly predictable at first, but then it takes a twist. Sometimes, the story was confusing as well, as readers could only continue to read more to find out the answers...
I'm proud to say that
this story was fulfilling. Through the characters' courage, the story moved forward as questions were answered, and hearts were put to ease.
Art: 9/10 (Great)
Ai Yazawa maintained consistency as she never drew anyone readers could not recognize. Ai Yazawa has a great attention to eyes. The eyes were very helpful in recognizing and understanding the emotions of the characters.
Ai Yazawa also made sure she drew important scenes well. Everything Ai Yazawa drew was relevant to the story.
Characters: 8/10 (Very Good)
There are a number of events that reinforces the characters to develop and make their own choices. The characters were also honest with how they felt, as they expressed (and cried) at their vulnerability, which made it much easier to understand them.
All of the characters developed from hopeful idealists to recognizing that no matter what one does, sometimes, the things you wish for cannot come true. Thus, the characters learn their own limits in their abilities and face reality as they recognize the things that they can do instead.
Interestingly, the main characters are children - I think sometimes people tend to underestimate children as being too young or lacking the knowledge to really do anything. But these four characters proved that despite their young age and frame, they had the will to help those in need. They were remarkable supporters and friends; even though the series is so incredibly short, it was amazing to see the way the children developed.
Enjoyment: 9/10 (Great)
I was surprised to discover how much I enjoyed this series - the characters slowly grew on me as I was touched by their determination to both help others and realize when it was time to let go. Despite being such a short series, I found tears roll down my cheeks toward the ending.
Ai Yazawa had beautiful monologues to depict the way the characters felt. It was easy to understand the characters' stubbornness, as they desired to achieve goals that were not within their power... The helplessness and sorrow the characters felt were completely understandable.
I really enjoyed the hope that occurred at the end of the series. Ai Yazawa tried to be very realistic when she depicted the ways the characters continued their lives. Despite any losses that occurred, it was encouraging to see the characters strive toward their futures.
I thought this story was a great reminder to readers to live life to its fullest without any regret.